Well, I survived - In the name of Thiago - Day 329

I really don't think I could cope with another day like yesterday for quite a while, was my thought when I woke up this morning. Yet as I write those words, I am encouraged to think about everything I have coped with in this last year and beyond. Suffice to say, after reassessing, I think I can cope with just about anything. I suppose it would be more accurate to write: I don't want to have to cope with another day like that.  

The thing with grieving for the loss of a child, is that so much of what you do positively to remember them also brings you pain. I'm always reminding and reassuring people that just because talking about Thiago brings me to tears, that this is in fact ok. There were so many tears yesterday that it got to the point where the salt from them was hurting my face. That's a whole lot of crying.

After a day of extreme emotional turmoil yesterday, we needed to do things today as a family to bring a little happiness back. The plan was that her ladyship and Angelica would set about decorating the house for Christmas while Dad and I would do something constructive outside - the construction of a storage space for firewood in fact. 

Angelica had bought some new decorations for the first time in ages - it may actually be the first time since we moved to Staffordshire 15 years ago - and Elisa was keen to see some of this be lavished on our Christmas trees. Yes, you did read that correctly trees plural, which partly explains why we needed to purchase more decorations. 

This is Christmas tree part deux, complete with Elisa and Thiago named baubles. I'm neither a huge fan or a disliker of Christmas. I know it's all rather commercial but I'm one of the lucky ones that has time off for Christmas so I get to watch a few games of football and have a few beers - these are certainly not things that I'm against!

Last Christmas was total shit and of course it remains to be seen how Angelica and I find it this time around. Though Elisa continues to feel nothing for the loss of her brother, that's no reason for us not to try to make the season as special as we physically can for her. It will simply never be the same, that completeness as a family is forever unfairly fractured. However, as our little girl - but not really such a little girl any more - loves this time of year, we are happy to try to be swept along with that feeling of magic which she still enjoys.  

I spent the afternoon feeling the magic of being in the company of my old man. I'll let you all be the judge of who has the best magic! 

In fairness, I was very grateful for my Dad's company lending me a hand putting this up this afternoon. I learnt something new today: that a dolly is a brick that you use to put under some wood while you're smashing the nail in. When dad asked if I had a dolly and I asked him in reply whether a care bear would do, he looked so utterly disappointed in me. Well I suppose I shouldn't change the habit of a lifetime.

The poor bugger really struggled physically but when we'd finished and he sat down to have a cup of tea in the front room, I could tell that he was really happy. We've never really done anything together - it just wasn't like that as I grew up. I won't say it was life-affirming, but I'm glad we did it nonetheless.

I've been back down to the Dancing Octopus chippy tonight - no chips for me tonight I promise - to pick up the collection pot. They managed to raise £95.14, which is a brilliant effort. That's pretty much it for the fundraiser now, which will close down officially on Tuesday. This means that through my efforts this year I'll have raised £23,595.14, (my friend Simon's employer also donated £500 to Birmingham Children's Hospital (BCH) that needs to be split, which means that both Royal Stoke University Hospital and BCH will benefit to the tune of £11,797.07. 

I am very proud of what I've achieved with the fundraiser but that's done now. It's time to move on - in many ways it may have been time to move on as soon as the walk finished six weeks ago. 

I'm going to take it easy for a while now - tomorrow's the last blog and in the coming weeks I'll be thinking about the next challenge, whether it's mental or physical. I won't stay quiet for long!



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